Clashes between Ukraine riot police and demonstrators in the streets of Kiev stretched late into the night on Monday (January 20), in what is the worst violence for decades in the country's capital.
President Viktor Yanukovich, appealed for compromise as he battled to reassert his authority after scores of people were injured in Kiev on Sunday (January 19) in pitched battles between protesters and police that could seriously hurt his chances of re-election next year.
With tension still high, about 1,000 protesters confronted police on Monday near Kiev's main government headquarters. Scores of mainly young people hurled projectiles at police throughout the day and ignored appeals to disperse.
Two journalists from the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty were assaulted by police during clashes, according to the broadcaster.
''They brutally knocked me down, ripped off my helmet that had "PRESS" written on it. They hit me on the head several times with their batons. They twisted my arms and dragged me to the police van. And every policeman along the way welcomed me with his fists," said Dmytro Barker, in a video released by the broadcaster.
According to a local media watchdog, the Institute of Mass Information, at least 26 journalists have been injured as a result of clashes in the last two days.
The violence, the worst civil unrest anyone could remember in post-war Kiev, stemmed from a rally on Sunday attended by more than 100,000 people in defiance of a court ban.
In the ensuing clashes, more than 60 police were injured, with 40 being taken to hospital, police said. Kiev's medical services said about 100 civilians had sought medical attention.
Up to now, Yanukovich has refused to yield to any of the opposition's core demands to sack his government and the interior minister over heavy-handed police action against demonstrators in December.
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